Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Active Versus Passive Voice

When you read your journal, you want to hear yourself speaking and not some narrator without a face or point of view. You want to feel part of the action instead of being some passive bystander. How can you make your journal more personal? Use the active voice!

In the passive voice, you're not really sure who commits the action. You only know the receiver of the action. An example:
“The car was hurled against the building.”
Something dramatic happened to the car and a building, but we have no idea how or why. Boring sentence.
Active voice:
“The tornado hurled the car against the building.”
Tells how car and building met. We can visualize what happened. Tornado caused the action.

Passive voice often uses forms of the verb “to be," is, am, are, was, were, be, being, become, becoming, also appear, seems, seems like, looks like.

Instead, use stronger and more active verbs.

Another example-
“Regina was saddened by the news.”
Instead “The news saddened Regina.”

Or “Tony was injured by the falling rock.”
Instead, “The falling rock injured Tony.” ◦

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Japanese Pillow Books

In male-dominated medieval Japan, the ladies of the court kept journal-style books under their bed pillows, used as an outlet to express themselves. These pillow books contained court gossip, as well as the ladies' innermost secrets, hopes and dreams.

In lieu of crying into their pillows, they slipped their identities under them. Writing what they really felt was at least one effective way these women could keep a handle on who they were in this "be-seen-and-not-be-heard" society.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Words Paint a Picture

Another way to approach journal writing is through the use of "captured moments." We all have envelopes, boxes or albums filled with photos tucked into the bottom of drawers or the back of shelves in our homes. But even closer to home, far within the recesses of our minds, lies a repository of visual snapshots that greatly outnumber even the holdings of Getty Images.

Whether the images are memories, seeing the present with your mind's eye, or imagining the future, you can capture these visual captured moments on paper. One thousand words can indeed paint a picture. But your picture, just in the telling of it, will charge the atmosphere with far greater emotion and meaning than most static pictures ever can.

Dialogues, which were covered in previous posts, are good psychological tools for working on relationships and other personal issues. On the other hand, captured moments are excellent devices to use in preserving memories.